Wyoming Ranchers & Landowners Rewarded for Wildlife Stewardship
The USDA recently announced a new Big Game Conservation Partnership guided by listening sessions with local ranchers and partners to invest in private working lands across the state of Wyoming, according to a written statement from farmers.gov.
The USDA is contributing an initial $15 million for stewardship actions in Fremont, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Park, Sublette, and Teton counties. The locally-led conservation efforts aim to reach the administration’s national conservation goals with the following actions:
Conserve big game habitat and sustain working ranches for future generations through the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) to ensure the land is not subdivided, mined, or developed.
Enhance rangeland and water resources for wildlife and livestock through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to help landowners repair wet meadows or eroding streams, get rid of invasive weeds, and replace or remove fences so wildlife can move easily.
Foster healthy native plants and productive grazing land through the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) by paying landowners an annual habitat lease in exchange for keeping native grasslands intact while continuing to graze livestock.
“Conserving America’s most iconic wildlife and wildlife migration corridors depends on the conservation of private working lands and tribal lands through voluntary, collaborative incentives that reward farmers, ranchers and forest owners for stewardship of their lands,” said Bonnie, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.
“Today’s announcement results from consultation with the State of Wyoming and local stakeholders to create new and enhanced opportunities through USDA’s conservation programs to expand our work with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to conserve wildlife and migration corridors and to keep working lands working.”
“Wyoming leads the nation in our approaches to conserving big game and their movements. We’ve done that with strong landowner partnerships and an acknowledgement that habitat conservation can be done on multi-use landscapes,” said Brian Nesvik, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
“Private landowners provide key habitat for wildlife seen in Yellowstone National Park. Offering voluntary funding opportunities to landowners to maintain this valuable space for wildlife is a recognition of their role in conservation.”
If you’re a rancher or landowner in Wyoming and would like more information about this effort, please contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.
To find out more about wildlife conservation programs available to producers outside of Wyoming, go to farmers.gov/wildlife.